Here is an agency-by-agency summary of President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2015, beginning next Oct. 1. The top-line figures do not include spending on automatic entitlement benefits like Medicare and Social Security that account for 70 percent of government spending. Those figures usually provided by the White House Office of Management and Budget were not provided March 4, 2014.
The top-line figures for each agency also omit the $55.4 billion “opportunity” initiative Obama would divide equally between domestic and military programs. An agency-by-agency accounting of that proposed spending was not included in the White House budget documents.
Discretionary spending: $27.9 billon
Percentage change from 2014: 2.6 percent increase
Highlights: Obama again would increase spending for two priorities: clean energy and national security. The budget proposal calls for $11.7 billion for nuclear security, a 4 percent increase over the current budget. Much of that money, $8.3 billion, would go to maintain a nuclear deterrent in a joint program with the Defense Department. About $1.6 billion would go to programs that prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies that could be used by rogue states and terrorist groups. A total of $5.6 billion would go to clean up nuclear waste at Cold War sites across the nation, including one in Washington State used to build the atomic bomb.
The budget includes $2.3 billion to promote efficiency and renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower to further reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels.
The budget proposal winds down federal funding for a long-delayed project to turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors. After a year-long review, the budget would essentially place the South Carolina-based mixed-oxide fuel program, or MOX, on hold while officials continue to evaluate alternative ways to dispose of plutonium. The administration says it remains committed to safe disposition of weapons-grade plutonium under an agreement with Russia. The so-called MOX plant being built at South Carolina’s Savannah River nuclear site has been plagued by years of delays and is billions of dollars over budget.
As he has each year in office, Obama again calls for repealing more than $4 billion per year in tax subsidies to oil, gas and other fossil fuel producers. The plan is likely to meet the same fate as previous proposals, which died without a vote in Congress.
The budget calls for spending $359 million on cutting-edge vehicle technologies, $253 million to develop new biofuels such as ethanol made from switchgrass or other materials and $200 million for a new Energy Security Trust to expand research into electric cars and biofuels to wean automobiles off gasoline. Obama also proposed the Energy Security Trust last year but was rebuffed by Congress.
Agency: Health and Human Services
Discretionary spending: $73.7 billion
Percentage change from 2014: 7.6 percent decrease
Highlights: Obama’s proposed health care budget supports the rollout of the president’s health care law and lays the groundwork for next year’s open enrollment season, when the administration hopes to have worked out all the bugs in the new insurance system. Fees from insurers will provide a new stream of revenue for online markets that cater to people who don’t have access to health care on the job. The budget includes $25 million over two years to monitor and prevent fraud in the insurance exchanges.
Monday’s budget documents provided little detail on Medicare and Medicaid, the entitlement programs that account for the vast majority of HHS spending. Those specifics will be released later. However, Obama’s plan calls for overall cuts of $402 billion over ten years projected spending on the two giant health care programs. Most of that would come from Medicare. The budget also supports congressional efforts to change the way Medicare pays doctors, emphasizing improved quality. For Medicaid, the budget proposes a one-year extension of higher payments for primary care practitioners.
The Medicare cuts are expected to be heavy on recycled and updated versions of previous proposals. They include higher premiums on affluent beneficiaries for outpatient care and prescription drug coverage, and a raft of changes that would squeeze service providers.
Agency: Homeland Security
Discretionary spending: $38.2 billion
Percentage change from 2014: 2.8 percent decrease
Highlights: Obama’s proposed homeland security budget would provide money to hire 2,000 new Customs and Border Protection officers to work at the country’s ports of entry. The budget also proposes another 2,000 officers whose positions would be funded by user fees. Lawmakers and others have repeatedly complained to the Homeland Security Department that long waits at borders and airports hinders both business and tourism and have repeatedly asked for more border officers.
The president’s budget plan also calls for $124 million to “support, expand and enhance” the E-Verify system employers can use to verify that employees are legally allowed to work in the United States. Obama has continued to push for broad immigration legislation but Republicans have been largely opposed, citing the need for border security before addressing other immigration issues. There have also been calls in recent years from some in Congress to make the use of E-verify mandatory.
The budget proposal also includes $10 million to help train local law enforcement on how to respond to mass shooting and bolster the department’s “If You See Something, Say Something” program as it relates to helping prevent gun violence. President Barack Obama has unsuccessfully pushed for stronger gun control laws in the wake of mass shootings in a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
Discretionary spending: $17.5 billion.
Percentage change from 2014: 0.6 percent decrease.
Highlights: NASA’s budget would essentially remain about the same with a tiny decrease. But if the Obama Administration gets its “opportunity” add-on budget, which is considered not likely, NASA would get an extra $885 million. That would make the space agency’s budget rise by 4.5 percent.
The regular budget would decrease science spending by $179 million — 3 percent — but if the add-on spending gets approved, science spending would go back to slightly above 2014 spending levels. The regular budget would also trim exploration spending by $137 million, but the add-on would more than make up for that with $350 million in extra exploration spending.
The regular budget would increase spending by $275 million for the International Space Station and $152 million for the commercial spaceflight program that would pay private firms to take cargo_and eventually crew_to the station. The budget includes money to fund NASA efforts that would start launching people from the United States again in 2017 in private rockets. It also includes money to send astronauts on still-to-be-built NASA large rockets and crew capsules to an asteroid by 2025 and toward Mars by the mid-2030s. The agency plans 16 science and cargo launches in the upcoming budget year and to continue work on the over-budget $8.8 billion dollar James Webb space telescope that would launch in 2018.
Agency: State and U.S. Agency for International Development
Discretionary spending: $42.6 billion
Percentage change from 2014: 0.2 percent decrease
Highlights: Obama’s proposed 2015 budget for the State Department and US Agency for International Development represents a slight decrease over the previous year but maintains funding for many of the administration’s key priorities. It includes a $4.6 billion request to secure overseas personnel and facilities, including $2.2 billion in security construction at U.S. diplomatic missions that was recommended by a panel convened in the wake of the deadly 2012 attack on the American mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The spending plan asks Congress for $1.5 billion to support democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa as well as to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria. It would set aside $400 million to support an anticipated transition in Syria. It foresees spending $5.1 billion for programs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, a significant reduction from previous years reflecting the end of the war in Iraq and the winding down of military operations in Afghanistan. That includes $2.6 billion for operations in Afghanistan, where the administration is still reviewing the size and scope of its military presence after the end of the year; $1.5 billion for Iraq, including $250 million to support the Iraqi military; and $1 billion for Pakistan, of which $280 million will support Pakistani security forces. It would also allocate $3 billion for international peacekeeping missions.
Discretionary spending: $14 billion
Percentage change from 2014: 2.2 increase
Highlights: Obama’s budget proposal would sharply boost spending on the Next Generation Air Transportation System program to revamp the nation’s air traffic control system, moving from the current radar-based system to one based on GPS technology. The program would get an extra $186 million, raising the program’s total budget for the federal fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1 to about $1 billion. The program is aimed at increasing the capacity and efficiency of the nation’s air traffic system to accommodate growth in air travel in the coming decades. But airlines and other users of the system have complained that after 10 years of work, the program so far has produced only modest benefits. The administration says the extra funding will provide the Federal Aviation Administration — which is part of the Department of Transportation — the “flexibility to aggressively develop and deploy more time and fuel saving capabilities while also addressing serious maintenance backlogs” in existing air traffic control facilities and equipment.
Combined discretionary and mandatory budget spending for the Department of Transportation is $91 billion under the proposal. That includes $302 billion over the next four years for road, bridge, rail and transit program. Transit and passenger rail spending would jump from $12.3 billion to $22.3, mostly for grants to improve existing and new intercity train service. Obama has tried since the start of his first administration to boost train service between cities that are less than 500 miles apart, partly as a means to relieve anticipated air traffic congestion. However, his attempts to win additional funds from Congress have been largely unsuccessful since Republicans gained control of the House in the 2010 election.
Associated Press Writers Matthew Daly, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Alicia A. Caldwell, Seth Borenstein, Matthew Lee and Joan Lowy contributed to this report. Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.